Archive for WOM – Page 3

Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 7

Susan bio shot        Burs for Beginner Power Carvers

Please refer to and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.

Please join me in wel­com­ing Wood­carvers On-Line Magazine’s newest spon­sor, Gene Webb’s School of Wood­carv­ing locat­ed in the Smoky Moun­tains in Townsend, Ten­nessee. Just go to the right and click on his link and you will be tak­en direct­ly to Gene’s wood­carv­ing shop where you’ll find tools, carv­ings, DVDs, bits and burs. Or, you can speak to Gene Webb at: 865–660‑1110.

If you ever saw my stu­dio, you would know my heart is firm­ly enmeshed in edged tools. I own micro tools, palm tools, Euro­pean sized and mal­let tools, and dozens of knives of all shapes and sizes – from ½” blades to hog­ging knives. I unabashed­ly love tools. I see, in each one of them, the raw met­al that came from the earth. I can imag­ine how it was fired, ham­mered and sharp­ened. And then the tool came to live with me…forever and ever.

So, the ques­tion I have been ask­ing myself this last year is, “Why am I carv­ing less often?”

I real­ized that the answer is, “Because my hands hurt A LOT the next day.”

Bot­tom line: Yes. I have seen the doc. Can’t do much about it. I have arthri­tis. It’s not rheuma­toid. Got some meds. Tried mis­cel­la­neous home reme­dies, all of which do some good.

Will it stop me from carv­ing? No. But, is it slow­ing me down? Yes. DANG IT!!

A while back, I pur­chased a Fore­dom and then a RAM think­ing I could use pow­er in lieu of edged tools, at least for rough­ing out a carv­ing. I found pow­er just didn’t work for me. The burs bounced and stuck and jumped and skid­ded across the carv­ing. I didn’t want to give up. I tried dif­fer­ent types of burs, then dif­fer­ent sized burs, and final­ly dif­fer­ent amounts of pow­er. My carv­ings were so ugly, the only rea­son I kept them was because they were the excel­lent exam­ples of bad pow­er carv­ing.

This was why I took Rick Jensen’s pow­er carv­ing class last month. I was cer­tain that six days of pow­er carv­ing under Rick’s tute­lage had to point me in the right direc­tion. And, boy, was I right! Plus, I can report that I expe­ri­enced only a min­i­mum amount of pain in the days that fol­lowed. Best of all, in addi­tion to pow­er carv­ing, I still used my first love — edged tools — just not as often.

Tak­ing Rick’s class was a bless­ing. Sit­ting next to Gene Webb made it a dou­ble bless­ing. While Rick taught us how to pow­er carve a bark house, stairs, rocks and a San­ta, I was keep­ing my eye on Gene as he pow­er carved wood spir­its and Amer­i­can Indi­ans. I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to learn from two mas­ter carvers.

The week I returned home, I thought about this col­umn and that many of you may want to con­sid­er pow­er carv­ing for the same rea­son I was pur­su­ing it. Six days of pow­er carv­ing in Ten­nessee helped me nail the basic tech­nique, but I cer­tain­ly am not expe­ri­enced enough to advise you what bits or burs to start with. So, I called Gene Webb and asked his advice.

My ques­tion to Gene was, “What burs would you rec­om­mend to a WOM read­er who wants to try pow­er carv­ing.” Gene, of course, sur­passed what I expect­ed. He pro­vid­ed us not only with which burs to begin with, but carved two wood spir­its and took a pro­gres­sion of pho­tos to help us under­stand each bur’s use.

Here is Gene’s reply:

I think four burs would be best.

 Gene Webb Burrs 1

These four burs com­plet­ed the two carv­ings I am about to show you. These burs will also work on bass­wood, and walk­ing sticks.

Gene Webb burrs 3
#1 is a Sabur­tooth, yel­low flame. 1/8th” shaft. I use it for rough­ing out small spir­its, Indi­an, etc.  

Gene Webb Burrs 4

#2 is a super coarse ruby. I used it to smooth them up.  3/32 shaft.

Gene Webb Burrs 5

#3 is a dou­ble cut car­bide dove­tail. 1/8″ shaft. I used it on the hair.

 #4 is a 1/16′ Sphere Dou­ble cut car­bide ball. 1/8″ shaft. I used it for the mouth, nose and eye holes.

Gene Webb Burrs 2

Gene Webb Burrs 6

These are small carv­ings. One is cot­ton wood bark, the oth­er is cedar.

These small spir­it carv­ings are signed and dat­ed. They retail for $30.00 and are approx­i­mate­ly 2’‘ wide and 6’’ long.

FYI: I already pur­chased Gene’s cedar wood spir­it. The cot­ton wood bark spir­it may still be avail­able.

If you think you may want to jump into pow­er carv­ing, like I did, Gene has put togeth­er a carv­ing bur kit that has every­thing need­ed to do most small projects. The kit is list­ed on his web­site for $105.95 (about a $15 sav­ings, which is the cost of a bur). The kit includes a sander that Gene uses on his carv­ings, and of course, you can call Gene at 865–660‑1110 when you need advice or get stuck, and he will get back to you as soon as he is free.

And, once more, I want to thank Gene Webb’s School of Wood­carv­ing for spon­sor­ing Wood­carvers Online Mag­a­zine. Carvers help­ing carvers!!

Chain Saw Carving

Oh … almost for­got.

The two-day chain saw carv­ing sem­i­nar I took from Gene was awe­some! I roughed out a cedar wood spir­it and an Amer­i­can Indi­an.

I admit to wound­ing the chair, but it sur­vived. I came back with a lot of knowl­edge and all my appendages intact. It was great!



Sub­ject: Pray­ing Hands – In-The-Round Carv­ing

Last month, I received an email from John Mitchell ask­ing about plans or mag­a­zine arti­cles for carv­ing pray­ing hands in-the-round. I received an answer all the way from Aus­tralia, from John Car­riere. Here it is:

Just read your arti­cles in WOM.

I researched my old wood carv­ing mag­a­zines and found three arti­cles that John Mitchell might like to look up. All are in the British Wood­carv­ing mag­a­zines.

One of them is in the July/August 2001 issue page 22 enti­tled “Skilled Hands” by Pete Ben­son.

Anoth­er is in the September/October 1997 issue, page 37 enti­tled “Give Him a Hand” by Derek Old­bury.

The oth­er one is in the May/June 2001 issue, page 17 enti­tled “Lend­ing a Help­ing Hand” by Michael Painter. 

I hope they can be of assis­tance to him. 

I am work­ing on a large relief carv­ing at the moment. It is a moun­tain­scape about 700mm (2.5 feet) wide by about 900 mm (3 feet) high. It is part of a tree trunk I found on the shore. 

I have been try­ing out a neg­a­tive ion gen­er­a­tor in my studio/workshop. The prin­ci­ple is that neg­a­tive ions gen­er­at­ed from the gen­er­a­tor cling to dust par­ti­cles, mak­ing them heavy enough to fall to the floor, thus clean­ing the air. A spin off is that there is a very pleas­ant smell from the neg­a­tive ions. You might like to look into this as a future tip for wood­carvers. 

All the very best to you Susan,


John, thank you so much for tak­ing the time to research your back issues of the British Wood­carv­ing Mag­a­zine. Good luck on your moun­tain­scape. Also, please let us know if the neg­a­tive ion gen­er­a­tor actu­al­ly does help clean the air of dust par­ti­cles. We all would be inter­est­ed in that!

If any of our read­ers now use, or have had any expe­ri­ence using a neg­a­tive ion gen­er­a­tor in their work­shop, please drop me an email using the form below, or at, and I’ll share your expe­ri­ence with the rest of the WOM read­ers.


Next month, I’ll show you the “Ulti­mate Bird­hous­es” that Howard Atwood carves. They are absolute­ly amaz­ing! Howard was kind enough to allow me to share, with you, how he mod­i­fied a spe­cif­ic tool for his bird­hous­es, with great results. Carvers help­ing carvers!

Until then, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.



Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 6

Susan bio shot   Gene Webb’s Indi­an Mask

Please refer to and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.

I spent six glo­ri­ous days with Wood­carv­ing Illustrated’s 2014 Wood­carv­er of the Year, Rick Jensen. He taught two back-to-back, three-day bark carv­ing sem­i­nars. Rick’s projects includ­ed carv­ing a bark house with a spi­ral stair­case, and a San­ta with jin­gle bells on a leather belt.

Rick held his sem­i­nars at Gene Webb’s School of Wood­carv­ing locat­ed in the Smoky Moun­tains in Townsend, Ten­nessee. Rick plans to return to Gene’s stu­dio April 1 thru 6, 2016. As in 2015, both pow­er and edged tools will be used. The 2016 sem­i­nar has a max­i­mum of 10 stu­dents. 9 carvers have already giv­en Rick a $100 deposit to hold their space. If you are inter­est­ed, call Rick at 218–281-5107 for the project’s details.

Rick Jensen, Susan Alexander, Gene Webb in Townsend, TN

Rick Jensen, Susan Alexan­der, Gene Webb in Townsend, TN

As luck would have it (mine, not his), Gene Webb’s per­ma­nent carv­ing sta­tion was locat­ed next to mine, which allowed me to observe him pow­er carve an Amer­i­can Indi­an mask. I’m cer­tain I must have annoyed Gene with a series of ques­tions about pow­er carv­ing. How­ev­er, Gene, who has carved for over 40 years, won numer­ous Blue Rib­bon, Best of Show and People’s Choice Awards, was a true Ten­nessee artist, instruc­tor and gen­tle­man. He kind­ly answered each of my ques­tions with grace and patience.

Mask Front-Gene Webb

Mask Front-Gene Webb

Gene carved his mask in spald­ed maple wood using an NSK and Fore­dom. He took the time to explain which bits he chose to use, and the thought process behind his choic­es. I was fas­ci­nat­ed because I sel­dom have had any luck with pow­er carv­ing.

Gene carved the front of the mask before hol­low­ing out the back, leav­ing some del­i­cate por­tions only ¼” thick – so thin you could see light if you held it up to a lamp.

Mask Back - Gene Webb

Mask Back — Gene Webb

After Gene hol­lowed the back of the mask and carved in a hang­er, he buffed the entire carv­ing, front and back, with dif­fer­ent fab­ric-backed grits of sand­pa­per he mount­ed on a man­drel and loaded onto a Fore­dom. Gene then took a wood burn­er to the mask. I asked him to take a pho­to for us when it was ½ burned, so you could see the remark­able dif­fer­ence burn­ing made to the carv­ing.

Half Burned Mask-Gene Webb

After wood burn­ing, Gene applied a fin­ish, which dark­ened the wood dra­mat­i­cal­ly.

Completed Mask -Gene Webb

The final carv­ing was 15” tall by 6” wide.

I was so enthralled with the entire process that I pur­chased Gene’s DVDPow­er Carv­ing an Indi­an Mask, watched it that evening in my room (after carv­ing for 9 hours with Rick), and the next day went back and pur­chased Gene’s Pow­er Carv­ing a Tree Spir­it DVD. Gene has 19 DVD’s at $22.95 each. Even though I prob­a­bly will nev­er carve a mask, I’ll refer to Gene’s DVD when I attempt to pow­er carv­ing an Indi­an face.

There are numer­ous things I like about Gene Webb’s DVDs. While they are pro­fes­sion­al­ly pro­duced, they don’t feel staged. Like many things that are done cor­rect­ly – you don’t notice that the sound, cam­era angles and light­ing were well thought out. Gene has an easy way of explain­ing the art of carv­ing. His friend­ly man­ner and expla­na­tions of bits, carv­ing tools and carv­ing meth­ods belies his numer­ous awards and 40 years of carv­ing expe­ri­ence. When I watch Gene’s DVDs, I feel like I’m get­ting great advice from a carv­ing friend and neigh­bor.

I told Gene I want­ed to tell you, the WOM read­er, how much I enjoyed his DVDs and he said that should any of you decide to pur­chase one of them, if you men­tion my name, you can email him a pho­to of your carv­ing and he’ll cri­tique it at no charge. I know I’ll be tak­ing advan­tage of that offer.

When you have a moment, check out Gene Webb’s web­site at You’ll find a lot of inter­est­ing carv­ing items on Gene’s site, includ­ing bits, books and tools. If you are ever in the area, or would like to take a trip to the Smoky Moun­tains, Gene offers indi­vid­u­al­ized carv­ing instruc­tions for $150/day or $200/2-day class. Depend­ing upon the sub­ject mat­ter, he also offers week-long class­es. While Gene is flex­i­ble, depend­ing upon his sched­ule, pow­er carv­ing, edged tool class­es (or a mix­ture of both) are usu­ally held the first week of the month.

My trip to Townsend, Ten­nessee has reaped WOM read­ers an addi­tion­al ben­e­fit. Gene has agreed that if a WOM read­er has a carv­ing ques­tion, you may call him at 865–660-1110. Men­tion my name, and Gene will get back to you as soon as he is free. Carvers help­ing carvers!

Fol­low­ing my sem­i­nars with Rick Jensen, I adven­tur­ous­ly signed up for Gene’s 2-day pri­vate chain saw class. I hope to rough out two projects — one per day — an Amer­i­can Indi­an and a wood spir­it — both from a slab of cedar log. I don’t know whether you should send your good luck wish­es to me or Gene. I’ve nev­er picked up a chain saw before. Best send them to Gene.

Here are a few pho­tos of past masks Gene has carved. Vis­it his web­site to see more of his carv­ings.

Cedar Mask -Gene Webb

Cedar Mask -Gene Webb

Bison Masks -Gene Webb

Bison Masks -Gene Webb

Indian Masks -Gene Webb

Indi­an Masks -Gene Webb



Sub­ject: Pray­ing Hands – In-The-Round Carv­ing

I received an email from John Mitchell. He’d like to carve an in-the-round carv­ing of pray­ing hands, and is ask­ing if any­one can pro­vide him with plans. If we couldn’t pro­vide him with plans, John said he saw an arti­cle in a mag­a­zine that gave full instruc­tions for carv­ing pray­ing hands, but can’t recall the issue or name of the mag­a­zine. Can any read­er point John in the right direc­tion? Use the form below to email me, or send the infor­ma­tion to and I’ll for­ward it to John as well as print it in my next Let’s Talk Carv­ing col­umn.


Sub­ject: A Dif­fer­ent Per­spec­tive

Last month, Shorty Short’s (from Shorty’s Wood Shop) sent us a TIP that sug­gest­ed when we look at a carv­ing we turn off the lights from time to time and have one small light off to the side when exam­in­ing our carv­ing, I received an email from Joe But­ler remind­ing us that look­ing at our carv­ing in a mir­ror will give us an entire­ly new per­spec­tive that will allow us to see what parts of our carv­ing are out of synch. Thanks, Joe. It was good hear­ing from you.

Let me add that when you view your carv­ing in the mir­ror, have a pen­cil with you. While look­ing in the mir­ror, put your fin­ger on the spot that needs adjust­ing. When you turn the carv­ing back to face you, mark that spot with your pen­cil. That way, even if you put your carv­ing down for a day or two, you’ll know exact­ly what needs to be adjust­ed once you begin carv­ing again.


Sub­ject: Win­dow Fans and Fur­nace Fil­ters

Last month, I shared Jan Oegema’s email with you regard­ing attach­ing fur­nace fil­ters to a box fan. First of all, my sin­cere apolo­gies to Jan because I spelled his last name incor­rectly. While I kept a few of his vow­els and con­so­nants, Jan’s last name is def­i­nitely not Omega. It must have been a Freudi­an slip because I have recent­ly begun to study the Greek lan­guage, which, of course, includes the let­ter Omega. Sor­ry about that, Jan.

Not only did Jan accept my apolo­gies, being a great carv­er, he sent me a few more pho­tographs and TIPS to share with you. In this pho­to you’ll rec­og­nize the fil­tered box fan that Jan referred to last month. It is inter­est­ing to see how Jan secured it to the ceil­ing.

Jan's Filtered Box Fan Ceiling Height

Jan’s Fil­tered Box Fan Ceil­ing Height

I’ll let Jan tell you, in his own words, about the sec­ond batch of pho­tos he sent us. When I first received them, I thought the pho­to below was of a small vac­u­um sweep­er so I emailed Jan for an expla­na­tion.

Jan's Floor Polisher

Jan’s Floor Pol­ish­er

Here is Jan’s response.

The pic­tures show a floor pol­ish­er NOT a vac­u­um. I con­vert­ed the floor pol­ish­er into a sharp­en­er.

I take the whole pol­ish­er apart and build a case around the motor. Then I take the brush­es out of the round hold­ers and screw a piece of wood on there (as seen in the pic­tures). Glue a piece of leather on the wood (suede side up). From the han­dle I use the switch and the cord and use a used Kitchen draw­er han­dle so I can take it with me on tour. Often I make a sec­ond round set with 200 grit sand­pa­per.

Parts of Floor Polisher

Parts of Floor Pol­ish­er

Jan's Reinvented Tool Sharpener

Jan’s Rein­vent­ed Tool Sharp­en­er

Jan's Reinvented Tool Sharpener

Jan’s Rein­vent­ed Tool Sharp­en­er

I wish I was hand­i­er, but it was cer­tain­ly inter­est­ing see­ing what Jan can do with a floor pol­ish­er!

My Warn­ing to WOM Read­ers: Only if you are very famil­iar and schooled and con­fi­dent in your mechan­i­cal and elec­tri­cal abil­i­ties and the type of equip­ment Jan has tak­en apart and put back togeth­er, should you even con­sider attempt­ing what Jan has accom­plished. You know who you are. I know I couldn’t morph a floor pol­isher into a sharp­ener with­out injur­ing myself or set­ting fire to my stu­dio.


Until next time, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.



March/April 2015 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 19 Issue 2


2014 Nation­al Car­i­ca­ture Carv­ing Com­pe­ti­tion

1st Place — Minia­ture


Peter Zanavskas — Auburn, MA

 Larg­er views in the CCA Com­pe­ti­tion ’14 Gallery


Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

In this issue:

2014 Car­i­ca­ture Carvers of Amer­i­can Nation­al Car­i­ca­ture Com­pe­ti­tion Winner’s Gallery

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #5

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Bub­ba

Pete LeClair: Casey

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed


Com­ing up in April:

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #6

 Notes From The Net

As always, we wel­come your feed­back, ideas for arti­cles, etc.  Please use the con­tact form on the About page in the menu bar above.




Pho­to by Marc Feath­er­ly at IWC ’14

Matt Kel­ley


Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 5


Please refer to and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.

We take so many every­day things for grant­ed. While I try to be grate­ful for the many bless­ings life has bestowed on me, with carv­ing and my carv­ing friends high on my list, some of the sim­plest mir­a­cles escape my atten­tion because I didn’t know they even exist­ed.

Those were my thoughts as I lis­tened to David J. Lin­den, an Amer­i­can pro­fes­sor of neu­ro­science at The Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­si­ty School of Med­i­cine, being inter­viewed on the radio. When the inter­view con­clud­ed, I ordered his book Touch – The Sci­ence of Hand, Heart and Mind so I could share two facts about touch that he dis­cussed.

The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind by David Linden

The Sci­ence of Hand, Heart and Mind by David Lin­den

Although Lin­den spoke on sev­er­al aspects of his book, the first of two items that caught my atten­tion was his point­ing out that when we hold a tool, do we real­ize that we are able to actu­al­ly feel what the end of the tool has touched? Stop for a moment and think about this. It was some­thing I had nev­er con­sid­ered.

Accord­ing to Lin­den, this is pos­si­ble because although our hands have four dif­fer­ent touch recep­tor sys­tems, it is the 350 Pacin­ian cor­pus­cles (that look like a tiny cross-sec­tion of an onion) in each fin­ger that allow us to feel what the end of the tool has touched. The Pacin­ian cor­pus­cles are extreme­ly sen­si­tive to tiny vibra­tions, and each vibra­tion received sends fire spikes to our spinal cord and then on to our brain stem so we can inter­pret what the end of our tool is doing.

While Lin­den used a shov­el as his exam­ple, of course, I was think­ing about a bench knife or a gouge cut­ting into wood grain. In Linden’s words, “When we use a tool, like a shov­el, we can per­ceive tac­tile events at the work­ing end of the tool almost as if our fin­gers were present there. Imag­ine dig­ging into a pile of grav­el with a shov­el and then doing the same with a pile of soft, loose top­soil. You can eas­i­ly dis­tin­guish the dif­fer­ent prop­er­ties of grav­el or top­soil through the shov­el, even though your hands are far away from the con­tact point. Fur­ther­more, with prac­tice, our abil­i­ty to inter­pret this kind of long-range touch infor­ma­tion improves. In this way, the violinist’s bow, the surgeon’s scalpel, the mechanic’s wrench or the sculptor’s chis­el effec­tive­ly become sen­so­ry exten­sions of the body.”

So the rea­son you can feel the dif­fer­ence between carv­ing bark and carv­ing wal­nut is because of the 350 Pacin­ian cor­pus­cles in each of your fin­gers turn­ing the tool’s vibra­tions in your hand into ener­gy and send­ing fire spikes rac­ing to your spinal cord and then up to your brain.


The sec­ond point of inter­est from Linden’s book that I want­ed to share, and that affects each of us, is how we feel pain. Here’s a brief syn­op­sis:

Ever cut your­self – deeply – then said, “Oh *&%# that is gonna hurt!” and wait­ed for the pain to hit? In Linden’s book, he explained the rea­son for the inter­lude between the first pain we feel and the sec­ond pain that arrives after­wards.

The ini­tial pain we feel trav­els to our brain fast. It’s car­ried to our spinal cord and up to our brain by a mix­ture of two types of fibers – A-delta and A-beta. The A-beta fiber trans­mits that first painful elec­tri­cal spike at 150 miles per hour. It tells you to stop cut­ting your­self … or to take your hand off the hot pot. In oth­er words: THIS HURTSSTOP NOW!

The sec­ond wave of pain (that you wait for) is trans­mit­ted by C-fibers that trav­el at only 2 miles per hour. This pain’s pur­pose is to demand you do some­thing to pro­mote heal­ing – like stop­ping the bleed­ing.

Isn’t it amaz­ing that elec­tri­cal spikes are trav­el­ing through our body at 150 miles per hour, and we are total­ly unaware of it? And, isn’t it a coin­ci­dence that the author’s last name, Lin­den, is also the name of the lin­den tree, com­mon­ly known as bass­wood? Hmm­mm.

Now, if any­one asks why you carve so often, you can smile and tell them that you are improv­ing your mind’s abil­i­ty to inter­pret long-range touch infor­ma­tion.

That should work.



Sub­ject: Let the Shad­ows Tell You

I received a very inter­est­ing TIP from a carv­er named Shorty Short.

I am a hob­by­ist carv­er. I use to sell my work on-line by request order. Since my wife died I just carve what I want and give them away. My sug­ges­tion is one of my dis­abil­i­ties that I have dis­cov­ered ben­e­fi­cial. I am almost total­ly col­or­blind.

When look­ing at pic­tures or live fig­ures such as birds, rep­tiles or facial fig­ures turn off the lights from time to time and have one small light off to the side when exam­in­ing your piece. Let the shad­ows show you what you need to enhance or bring out. Carv­ing is cre­at­ing illu­sions mak­ing a 1/4″ nose look extreme­ly large. Some­times col­or can mis­guide your desired out­come. Try it and see if it works for you!

Fas­ci­nat­ing! This is some­thing I’ll def­i­nite­ly try. Thank you, Shorty!


Sub­ject: Eagle Head Walk­ing Sticks

In response to last month’s email from Mike Her­mann ask­ing about eagle head walk­ing sticks, I received the fol­low­ing email from “Jake Resid­ing in Ohio – a Iowa Hawk­eye at Heart.

I make eagle canes for wound­ed war­riors. I use a design from WCI spring 2006 issue 34 page 64. It is real­is­tic in design. Maybe he could get a back issue or look for it online. If you would like to see some of the canes I have done go to the site and click on Ohio recip­i­ents. They are list­ed as by Jake Jacob­sen, Myron Jacob­sen and some are list­ed by Huber Heights senior carvers. Mine are done com­plete­ly by myself. They are the ones with a han­dle above the eagle head as I drill through them so they can be mount­ed on the shaft rather than as the cane han­dle.

This URL will take you to the site where cane pic­tures are dis­played. I have pro­vid­ed canes more than 80+ canes I do not know the exact num­ber as I lost track. When you get there click on Ohio.

As it hap­pens, I have the Wood­Carv­ing Illus­trat­ed issue that Jake ref­er­ences. To make it eas­i­er for Mike to find WCI Issue 34, I took a pho­to of the cov­er and the first page of the arti­cle, so you could see the type of eagle described. The arti­cle, Real­is­tic Eagle Bust,  writ­ten by Pat Miku­la Moor, includes full carv­ing instruc­tions.

WoodCarving Illustrated Issue 34

Wood­Carv­ing Illus­trat­ed Issue 34


Pat Mikula Moore's Eagle Article in WCI Issue 34

Pat Miku­la Moore’s Eagle Arti­cle in WCI Issue 34

Jake, that’s a ter­rif­ic sug­ges­tion for Mike, and you have my sin­cere thanks for all the canes you’ve carved for our vet­er­ans. Bless you.


Sub­ject: Win­dow Fans and Fur­nace Fil­ters

I received an email from Jan Omega out of Ontario, Cana­da. Jan has the great­est sense of humor. I met Jan and his wife once, over 8 years ago, and I still have a small cot­tage he carved. Here’s Jan’s TIP.

As you well know I am NOT much of a read­er (lips get tired) but I read all of your let­ters. WELL DONE !!

I do use the old 2’x2’ x6” win­dow fans in my prepa­ra­tion shop 10’x14’ Have them hang­ing from the ceil­ing and have fur­nace fil­ters taped on BOTH sides so all my air in that small shop gets fil­tered con­stant­ly while I do cut­ting and or grind­ing

I DO spray “Endust ” on the fil­ters so all dust gets caught and once in a while I vac­u­um the fil­ters and because of the “ENDUST” it comes off easy.

You have your self a great day now you hear.

Two great TIPS from Jan – secur­ing fur­nace fil­ters on a fan, and then spray­ing them with Endust! While I can’t hang a fan from my drop ceil­ing, I thought this was such an inter­est­ing idea that I bought a box of fur­nace fil­ters and attached one to a fan with a bungee cord. Here’s a pic­ture of how it turned out. I still have to attach one to the back.

Box Fan with Filter

Box Fan with Fil­ter


Now, I just have to remem­ber to buy the Endust! Thank you, Jan!! To learn more about Jan, his carv­ing stu­dio, and to see his carv­ing gallery, go to

It’s all about Carvers Help­ing Carvers!


Until next time, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.



Susan Alexander’s “Let’s Talk Carving” Issue 4

Susan bio shot Technology — Can’t Live With It — Can’t Live Without It! 



Please refer and fol­low all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ direc­tions.

The last week in Jan­u­ary, my inter­net access, per­son­al com­put­er, iPad, scan­ner, inkjet and laser print­ers got into an argu­ment and decid­ed not to com­mu­ni­cate with each oth­er. It was like a mas­sive divorce; they were all going their sep­a­rate ways. I spent over five hours cajol­ing, and then beg­ging them to acknowl­edge each oth­ers pres­ence.

Hop­ing for a dis­trac­tion, I turned on the radio and began reen­ter­ing the Blue­tooth 16 dig­it Key Code (num­bers and cap­i­tal let­ters) for the fourth time, when the radio announc­er advised, “Although it is true Mer­cury has gone ret­ro­grade, only the “unin­formed” believe that this plan­et has the abil­i­ty to dis­rupt com­mu­ni­ca­tions.”

Yeah – right – you betcha.

It was then that I men­tal­ly list­ed all the rea­sons I love carv­ing wood so much more than deal­ing with tech­nol­o­gy. You can carve any piece of wood, any­where in the world, with­out pass­words, inter­net access, pro­grams, inkjet or laser car­tridges, key codes, pro­gram upgrades, virus­es, virus pro­tec­tion pro­grams, scan­ners, down­loads, files, fold­ers, USB ports, dri­ver updates, clouds, back­ups, blue­tooth, and emails I should have, but I swear, nev­er received. It’s just you, the wood and a sharp tool. Heav­en!

You wouldn’t believe it, to read the above, but I like tech­nol­o­gy, except when it doesn’t work NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO, and if I had won the MEGA-MILLION LOTTO I promise you, in a heart­beat, I would have drop kicked every last piece of tech­nol­o­gy I own out my sec­ond-sto­ry win­dow as soon as I checked that no one was in the back yard and would get hurt.

And then … as usu­al … life proves how very wrong I am. Here it is – almost two weeks lat­er – and I am singing technology’s prais­es. Let me explain.

I was speak­ing with Carv­ing Illustrated’s 2014 Wood­carv­er of the Year, (applause, applause) Rick Jensen, about bark pow­er carv­ing when Rick men­tioned that air fil­ters (because of dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ers) don’t always fit secure­ly into air clean­ers. While teach­ing one of his class­es, Rick noticed dust cling­ing to the wall behind the air clean­ers and decid­ed to inves­ti­gate. Rick then told me some­thing that I thought would be a ter­rif­ic TIP for this col­umn.

It was Feb­ru­ary 11 when I called Rick to request his per­mis­sions to share his TIP (remem­ber the date – it’s impor­tant lat­er on). Not only did he allow me to share his TIP with you, he offered to pro­duce a short video for us!

That evening, Rick asked his wife, Jody, (who just came home from a long day at work), to record his TIP, edit it, and send it to me via their Drop­box. I received the video, down­loaded the file to my Drop­box, and emailed the shared link to Matt Kel­ley, who will do his mag­ic so all of you can see Rick’s air fil­ter TIP, when you click the link below.

Did I men­tion that I LOVE tech­nol­o­gy?

I always say that wood­carvers are the best peo­ple and it’s true. Now, I want to add that wood­carvers’ wives (and hus­bands) are just as great. Thank you, Jody, for tap­ing Rick’s TIP for all of us!

You can see Rick’s TIP by click­ing: HERE

On a side note … just for the heck of it … I checked the Inter­net and (I would nev­er lie to you) Mer­cury stopped going ret­ro­grade on Feb­ru­ary 11. I told you to remem­ber that date.

Life is cer­tain­ly full of mys­ter­ies.

Oh … one more thing … while I chat­ted with Rick, he men­tioned that he and Jody had just shot two videos for Sabu­ur­tooth Tools. You can see them at: Enjoy!


E-MAIL:  Sub­ject — Human Hands

I received an email from carv­er, Gary Cum­mins, ask­ing:

Can you rec­om­mend any instruc­tion­al books, arti­cles, DVDs, etc. on the sub­ject of carv­ing car­i­ca­ture and real­is­tic human hands out there?  Tips, advice, etc. would be appre­ci­at­ed. My carved hands either look like a knot of sausages or claws.

The first thing I did when I received Gary’s email is trot down to my work­shop and dig through my study sticks. One of my favorites is from Dave Stet­son. Dave’s is the only hand study stick I have ever come across. I’ve owned it for years, and can’t recall where/when I pur­chased it.

Closed Hand Study by Dave Stetson

Closed Hand Study by Dave Stet­son

Because I think it is rather use­less to sug­gest an item to a carv­er with­out advis­ing where it can be pur­chased, I went online and searched and searched and searched and came up with nada. I made a few phone calls to ven­dors – still nada.

Dave’s web­site, didn’t offer the hand study stick either, so I called him – twice. But, there was no answer and no voice mail avail­able.

Not to be deterred (work­ing hard for you, Gary), I emailed Dave.

Dave called me right back and we had a great con­ver­sa­tion. Ends up that he had just pur­chased a new phone and hadn’t had time to set up his voice mail yet. Bot­tom line, we are in luck! Dave no longer pro­duces these hand study sticks, but has about a dozen left. [Edi­tor note — make that eleven left.]  If you would like to pur­chase one, email Dave at They cost $24.95 plus ship­ping. When he sells the last of them — they’re gone.

Before our con­ver­sa­tion end­ed, Dave asked if I had ever seen the Carvi­nOn­line web­site. I hadn’t, but after­wards I checked it out. It looks ter­rif­ic. There must be close to 20 accom­plished carv­ing instruc­tors offer­ing carv­ing videos. Their web­site is:

There is a cost per month, or for three months, or for the year to access the videos. What I liked was that there were a num­ber of free lessons offered by dif­fer­ent instruc­tors, so you can actu­al­ly take a test-dri­ve before you buy. I did notice that there is one les­son offered on how to carve an opened hand.

If you pre­fer to pur­chase a book on hand-carv­ing, then Ivan Whillock’s Hand Pro­por­tion Made Easy con­tains infor­ma­tion on carv­ing opened and closed hands as well as on the hand’s anato­my. This book is offered from our fine spon­sors.

Hand Proportion Made Simple by Ivan Whillock

Hand Pro­por­tion Made Sim­ple by Ivan Whillock


Thanks for your email, Gary. One of the rea­sons I enjoy writ­ing this col­umn is because I learn so very much when research­ing ques­tions like yours, as well as the oppor­tu­ni­ty to make new carv­ing friends like Dave Stet­son.


E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Eagle Head Walk­ing Sticks

I received an email from carv­er, Mike Her­mann, ask­ing:

Hi Susan, I was won­der­ing where to find walk­ing stick how-to project of an eagle’s head.

Ini­tial­ly, I respond­ed to Mike’s email with two book sug­ges­tions. The first book, should he want to carve a whim­si­cal eagle, is one I owned that uses bass­wood eggs, Carv­ing Wood­en Fin­ger Pup­pets and Cane Top­pers 20 Whim­si­cal Projects from Bass­wood Eggs by Ross Oar. The premise is that you carve a hole in the back of your eagle head carv­ing which then allows you to either mount it on a cane, as a top­per, or place (not mount) it on a child’s fin­ger as a fin­ger pup­pet.

Finger Puppets & Cane Toppers by Ross Oar

Fin­ger Pup­pets & Cane Top­pers by Ross Oar

I wasn’t cer­tain if Mike want­ed to carve a real­is­tic eagle, so I found a sec­ond book, online, Carv­ing Wild Fowl Canes and Walk­ing Sticks with Pow­er by Rus­sell, $14.95. I don’t have a pho­to of that, but there was an eagle on its cov­er.

Since that time, I’ve been think­ing about Mike’s request. Per­haps, Mike want­ed to carve a walk­ing stick with an eagle’s head for a vet­er­an. If so, Hey Mike – here are two great links.

If you go to: you’ll see a news video about George and Don­na Gun­ning, along with Bert Tru­man, who have cre­at­ed over 1800 Eagle Canes. They’ll make an eagle’s head cane for any vet­er­an that requests one, free of charge. I had to share this with all of you. It makes me feel proud to be in the com­pa­ny of wood­carvers. Bless George, Don­na and Bert!

Then, I found a sec­ond web­site, the Eagle Cane Project. This group’s goal is to pro­vide PRESENTATION CANES to a select group of Post 9–11 Vet­er­ans who have received some man­ner of leg dis­abil­i­ty from com­bat relat­ed actions.

Their home page is: Their site is very com­plete and well orga­nized. It offers Eagle Cane Project guide­lines, request form, poster, tuto­ri­als, and a list of par­tic­i­pants and orga­ni­za­tions, by state, with their emails, recip­i­ents, con­tacts, links and Eagle Cane News.

It any read­er would like to offer addi­tion­al sug­ges­tions for Mike, please email me at (or use the form at the bot­tom of this arti­cle) and I’ll list your sug­ges­tion and name in the next issue of WOM.


E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Styl­ized Carv­ing

I receive at least one email every six months ask­ing for books on styl­ized carv­ings. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I could nev­er pro­vide an answer, so this time I went to my bud­dy, Lar­ry Yud­is, of The Wood­craft Shop, for a sug­ges­tion. He searched and found, The Art of Styl­ized Wood Carv­ing by Solomon & Hamil­ton, $19.95. You can pur­chase this book from your favorite carv­ing store, or one of our ter­rif­ic spon­sors. If you order from The Wood­craft Shop, this book is Item 912436. Thanks for your help, Lar­ry.  (Link to The Wood­craft Shop in the Spon­sor side­bar to the right.)


E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Pre­serv­ing Wood Carv­ing Stat­ues

Last month, I received an email from Jim Sul­li­van regard­ing pre­serv­ing wood carv­ing stat­ues. I haven’t received any respons­es from read­ers, so I’ll run this by you a sec­ond time, hop­ing some­one can offer a sug­ges­tion for Jim. Here’s the orig­i­nal email.

I own a nativ­i­ty scene crèche of sev­er­al carved wood­en fig­ures and a carved wood sta­ble. The crèche was pur­chased in Ober­amegau, Ger­many, in 1958. I think the carved wood sta­ble may be of arol­la (Swiss) pine, a type of white pine. It is stained a medi­um brown and the carved fig­ures (prob­a­bly from a dif­fer­ent, close-grained wood) are unstained. What should be done to pre­serve the wood from dry­ing out or oth­er­wise improp­er­ly aging? Thank you.


E-MAIL: Sub­ject — Pow­er Carv­ing Ref­er­ence

Last month, I also received an email from a carv­er who received a flex-shaft grinder/carver for Christ­mas. He asked for any Ref­er­ence Books or YouTube Videos that oth­er carvers can rec­om­mend for pow­er carv­ing.

We can rec­om­mend, Pow­er Carv­ing House Spir­its by Tom Wolfe. It is avail­able from WOM’s carv­ing sup­ply spon­sors.

Power Carving House Spirits by Tom Wolfe

Pow­er Carv­ing House Spir­its by Tom Wolfe


Until next time, gen­tle read­er, may your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.



If you have ques­tions for Susan, please sub­mit them using the form below.


January/February 2015 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 19 Issue 1

2014 International Woodcarvers Congress. Award winning carvings.

2014 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress

Cross Hob­bledby John C Sharp, Min­er­al Point, WI 

Best of Show;   1st in Group K, Group — Exhibits of two or more Sub­jects, Human and/or Ani­mal;  1st in Class 901 — Com­bin­ing real­isitc humans and/or ani­mals in a scene, all fin­ish­es

 More and larg­er views in the IWC ’14 Gallery

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

Wel­come to the first issue of  Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine for 2015. our 19th year of pub­li­ca­tion.  

In this issue:

2014 AWC Winner’s Gallery

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #3

Per­ry A. Reynolds on  Carv­ing Out Your Oppor­tu­ni­ties

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Beans ‘n Biskits

Pete LeClair: LaValle

Notes From The Net

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed


As always, we wel­come your feed­back, ideas for arti­cles, etc.  Please use the con­tact form on the About page in the menu bar above.


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Edi­tor Matt Kel­ley


Matt Kel­ley


November/December 2014 WOM — Part 2

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 18 Issue 6 — Part 2

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

Wel­come to Part 2 of the final issue of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine for 2014.  

In Part 2

2014 San­ta Gallery

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #2

Bonus Christ­mas Elf Project from Pete LeClair

San­ta Pat­tern from Lora S. Irish


Just a note — the pho­to gallery from the 2014 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress will appear in the January/February issue of WOM.

From all the con­trib­u­tors to Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine, our best wish­es for what­ev­er you hap­pen to cel­e­brate at this time of year.  Mer­ry Christ­mas, Hap­py Hol­i­day, and a won­der­ful New Year!


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Edi­tor Matt Kel­ley


Matt Kel­ley


Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carving Issue #2


It’s the Hol­i­days! My favorite time of year when all carvers are busy carv­ing presents for the peo­ple in their lives, while at the same time the peo­ple in their lives are won­der­ing what they could pos­si­bly buy for their carv­er. I thought it would be fun to help them (and you). I went through all the carv­ing-relat­ed items I own and love and that I thought would be great stock­ing-stuffers (and some items that would nev­er fit into a stock­ing) for your loved ones to buy you this Hol­i­day sea­son. Then I cre­at­ed a Woodcarver’s Wish List as well as a Woodcarver’s Let­ter to San­ta. Sim­ply print them out, fill in the blanks, and San­ta (or his helper elves) will know what carv­ing items you are hop­ing to receive.

The list has 30 carv­ing gifts to choose from, and in case I missed what you real­ly want San­ta to bring you, I left a blank space so you can fill it in. For each gift, I includ­ed an approx­i­mate price. Please con­sid­er patron­iz­ing one of the won­der­ful spon­sors of The Carvers’ Com­pan­ion and Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine. They are sim­ply the best!

Here are descrip­tions of each item on the Woodcarver’s Wish List, with an approx­i­mate price. Please refer to all man­u­fac­tur­ers’ labels instruc­tions for prop­er prod­uct usage.



#1    2” Harley Knife  The Harley knife, made by Del Stubbs, is named after Harley Ref­sal, the well-known Scan­di­na­vian fig­ure carv­er. This knife has an extreme­ly sharp edge. The hard­ness of the steel makes the knife cut effi­cient­ly, and while they tell us it should be used on clean bass­wood, I have per­son­al­ly butchered some cot­ton­wood bark with it. I liked this knife so well I pur­chased two.Approximate cost:       $39 includes a cus­tom fit­ted sheath (which you want). I believe it is only avail­able from:

#2   Helvie Don Mertz, CCA, Sig­na­ture Series 6–2 BH, Mini Mertz II Knife  This Wood Bee Carv­er knife has a long blade that is excep­tion­al­ly sharp all the way to the han­dle for reach­ing into those tight spaces. I dis­cov­ered it at The Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress this last June. Don Mertz, CCA, had numer­ous Helvie knives avail­able. While all of them looked ter­rif­ic, Don helped me choose this one. I’ve only used it a short time, but real­ly like it because of the blade and also because the han­dle is big, but not too big. This knife is avail­able in a reg­u­lar sized han­dle as well. Approx­i­mate cost:        $38


#3   The Break­through Fish Carv­ing Man­u­al by Mark Fra­zier, 292 pages  This black and white book is a mon­ster. It cov­ers ref­er­ence mate­r­i­al, pow­er carv­ing, mouth, eyes, fin tech­niques, habi­tats, bases, installing eyes, and much more.  Approx­i­mate cost:        $30

#4   Dynam­ic Wrin­kles and Drap­ery by Burne Hog­a­rth, 144 pages  This book deals with the sys­tem of wrin­kles and drapes as influ­enced by move­ment. It doesn’t tell you how to carve the folds and wrin­kles in clothes, but how and why wrin­kles act the way they do, includ­ing their anchor points. It is an invalu­able resource if you are carv­ing clothed fig­ures, or a very old nude. Approx­i­mate cost:        $24

#5   The Art of Carv­ing Net­suke by Peter Ben­son, 167 pages  Peter Ben­son gives us an excel­lent guide on carv­ing net­sukes (minia­tures) includ­ing eye, scales and feath­er tech­niques, tools and nine sweet projects. Approx­i­mate cost:        $28

#6   An Illus­trat­ed Guide to Carv­ing Tree Bark – Releas­ing Whim­si­cal Hous­es and Wood­spir­its from Found Wood by Rick Jensen and Jack A. Williams, 75 pages  An excel­lent guide that also includes a chap­ter, with pho­tos, describ­ing the sev­en species of cot­ton­wood that is grown on the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent so you can rec­og­nize which type of bark you are carv­ing. Now, that is cool! Approx­i­mate cost:        $15

#7   Relief Carv­ing in Wood – A Prac­ti­cal Intro­duc­tion by Chris Pye, 165 pages  Chris Pye takes you through the process of carv­ing in both low and high relief, illus­trat­ed in detail with col­or pho­tographs and line draw­ings, includ­ing chap­ters on tools, mate­ri­als and set­ting up your work­place. Chris Pye carves for England’s roy­al­ty, and teach­es in the U.S. once a year on the East Coast.  Approx­i­mate cost:        $20

#8   The Artist’s Com­plete Guide to Facial Expres­sion by Gary Fai­gin, 287 pages  While this book does not show you how to carve facial expres­sions, it does explain the eleven key mus­cles of facial expres­sion and how they affect the face in the six basic human expres­sions. I enjoy this book and ref­er­ence it often. Approx­i­mate cost:        $35

#9   Carv­ing Facial Expres­sions by Ian Nor­bury, 64 pages  Illus­trat­ed with 150 pho­tographs and draw­ings, mas­ter carv­er, Ian Nor­bury, pro­vides a range of exam­ples show­ing many human emo­tions. I keep going back to this lit­tle book because every time I read it I learn some­thing new. At his last exhib­it, Ian’s carv­ings sold for over $20,000. Approx­i­mate cost:        $15

#10   Cre­at­ing Car­i­ca­ture Heads in Wood and on Paper – A step-by-step guide for Design­ing & Carv­ing heads and faces by Marv Kaiser­satt, 137 pages  While this book has a very long name, three more words, “The Bible of ” should be added to the begin­ning of the title. It has an immense amount of infor­ma­tion, pro­vid­ed by an excel­lent edu­ca­tor. It is the eas­i­est and most com­pre­hen­sive car­i­ca­ture guide I own. It was once out of print, but for­tu­nate­ly it is now avail­able. Approx­i­mate cost:        $25

#11   Whit­tling Lit­tle Folk by Harley Ref­sal, 137 pages  Remem­ber the Harley knife I rec­om­mend­ed ear­li­er? It was named after the man who wrote this love­ly book which is filled with fun lit­tle peo­ple to carve. All 18 projects are designed to be done with only a carv­ing knife – no oth­er tools required! Approx­i­mate cost:        $17

#12   Bible Dudes by Lau­ra Dun­kle  This sweet lit­tle five page pam­phlet has all the nec­es­sary pat­terns and instruc­tions (for wood sized 1” x 4 ¼” or 1” x 3”) to eas­i­ly carve cute fig­ures that look very much like shep­herds, wise men, and even a Joseph that would be per­fect for a quick nativ­i­ty set that you can carve in your lap, while lis­ten­ing to TV. You’d have to adapt one of the male pat­terns for Mary by delet­ing the mous­tache and beard, carv­ing a small­er nose, and adding a few wisps of hair, but with a bit of imag­i­na­tion, I know you could do it. Approx­i­mate cost:        $6


#13   Carv­ing San­ta Orna­ments by Mark Gar­gac, 100 min­utes  This DVD com­bines two styles of carv­ing – tra­di­tion­al full relief as well as a pierced relief fash­ion, and includes full detailed instruc­tion. Mark’s tech­niques can be applied to walk­ing sticks, cane and bark. Approx­i­mate cost:        $26

#14   Carv­ing Wood­spir­its with Mark Gar­gac  This DVD starts at the rough­ing out stage, estab­lish­ing pro­por­tions in bark, then the set­ting in and detail­ing of the fea­tures, hair and beard of a wood­spir­it. In this DVD and the one above, Mark reminds me of a friend­ly neigh­bor who invit­ed you in to watch him carve. He has an easy atti­tude and before you know it, you’ve learned how to carve a wood­spir­it. Approx­i­mate cost:        $26

#15   Wood Carv­ing Basics by David Sabol, 2-DVD Set  This DVD cov­ers a vari­ety of dif­fer­ent carv­ing styles, includ­ing selec­tion of wood, choos­ing tools, relief, pow­er, and chip carv­ing, as well as fin­ish and paint­ing. Approx­i­mate cost:        $30


#16   12 Pock­et Heavy Duty Can­vas Tool Roll for Palm Tools and Knives  Good, sim­ple, easy, inex­pen­sive method to trans­port palm tools. Approx­i­mate cost:        $11

#17   12 Pock­et Heavy Duty Tool Roll for Larg­er, Long Han­dle Tools  Same as above, but for mal­let, long-han­dled or Euro­pean tools. Approx­i­mate cost:        $13

#18   20 Pock­et Stubai Deluxe Tool Roll  This cus­tom tool roll has 4 flaps on the inside that fold over the tools to insure they won’t fall out. Vel­cro holds every­thing tight after it folds togeth­er. Did I need this tool roll? No. I own the two tool rolls list­ed above. Buy­ing this was a lux­u­ry, plain and sim­ple. But, I love tot­ing my tools in it; and my tools appear to be hap­pi­er trav­el­ing in it. Approx­i­mate cost:        $59

#19   Apron with Suede  I real­ly like this apron. It is long and the suede gives extra pro­tec­tion to most of our vital organs. Approx­i­mate cost:        $25

#20   Palm Pounder  Although this palm mal­let was cre­at­ed to reduce shock when dri­ving carv­ing tools with your hand, which you prob­a­bly shouldn’t do (use a mal­let if the wood is that hard), after carv­ing for 32 hours at The Con­gress using all types of tools, wear­ing this palm pounder stopped the pain I was feel­ing in my palm. So, I’m sold on it. It has an adjustable wrist strap for a com­fort­able, one-size-fits-all fit. Approx­i­mate cost:        $12

#21   Dust-Bee-Gone Mask  Yes, this is expen­sive, but you are worth it. The mask won’t fog your glass­es and works with beards. It is com­fort­able, stur­dy, has an adjustable nose­piece and is hand wash­able. It comes in 3 sizes. I’ve had mine for 6 years, so it has cost me $6/year or .50/month or .12 week. What can you buy for .12 week? Cer­tain­ly not a new lung. Pro­tect what you have. Approx­i­mate cost:        $35

#22   OptiVi­sor  I use this over my glass­es, to carve and paint eyes, as well as find and get rid of the fuzzies that gath­er in cor­ners. The OptiVi­sor comes with dif­fer­ent types of lens plate num­bers (strengths) avail­able. I checked – mine is a #4. You can also pur­chase dif­fer­ent lens plates. Approx­i­mate cost:        $46 Addi­tion­al lens plate:     $30


#23   OCC­Tools Half-Moon Curved Skew Knife  At The Con­gress this year, I met John Vali­ton, a fel­low stu­dent in Tom Gow’s bark class, a good carv­er, and all round nice guy who brought this snazzy tool to my atten­tion. This half-moon skew is sharp, has a nice point and is curved to fit into those tight lit­tle cor­ners where fuzzies breed. OCC­Tools were pre­vi­ous­ly Den­ny tools; now they are made by Mike Ship­ley. Approx­i­mate cost:        $25

#24   Dock­yard Micro Carv­ing Tools  This 5 piece Gouge set con­sists of 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm, 4mm, & 5mm U-Gouges which I use over and over again espe­cial­ly when carv­ing small eyes, for the part of the eye by the nose, and the bags under the eyes. Approx­i­mate cost:        $60

#25   Dock­yard Micro Carv­ing Tools  This 4 piece V-Part­ing Set con­sists of 1.5mm, 2mm, 3mm 90° V-Tools & 2mm 75° V-Tool which I use for carv­ing hair, beard, and wrin­kles in the cloth­ing of small carv­ings, as well as crows feet (around the eyes – not actu­al crow’s feet). Approx­i­mate cost:        $46

#26   OCC­Tool “Real­ly Big” Gouge, #3 – 1” sweep or 25 mm  I use this and the one not­ed below on almost every good-sized carv­ing – whether it is bark or bass­wood. Approx­i­mate cost:        $26

#27   OCCT “Real­ly Big” Gouge, #5 – 1” sweep or 25 mm  I like this and the one above because even the cor­ners of the gouge are sharp and can be used for rough­ing out a carv­ing. Approx­i­mate cost:        $26

#28   The Muf­fer Buffer  The Muf­fer is used on your pow­er drill or Fore­dom. Made in the U.S.A., you use it to buff your carv­ing after it’s been paint­ed or oiled, then waxed. I found out the hard way that you have to be cer­tain it is spin­ning in the direc­tion of the wood grain. Approx­i­mate cost:        $50

#29   Col­wood Super-Pro II Wood­burn­ing Kit  This Wood­burn­ing kit has a Detail Pen as well as a Heavy Duty Pen. Both sides can be used for nor­mal burn­ing, but only one at a time. I’ve had this unit for 4 years, and while I am not a pyro­g­ra­ph­er, I am very pleased with it and how quick­ly it heats up and cools down (10 sec­onds). Approx­i­mate cost:        $180 – depend­ing on the acces­sories that come with the kit.

#30  Razaire 530 Dust Col­lec­tion Sys­tem  I’ve owned mine for at least four years and haven’t had a lick of prob­lems with it. I’m not an expert on dust col­lec­tion, but I’ve been advised that this unite is the small­est, qui­etest dust col­lec­tor, rat­ed 530 CFM, which cap­tures more of the dan­ger­ous “float­ing” dust than units with more CFM’s. It is only 11” x 11” x 6” so it doesn’t take up much room on my work­bench. It is also easy to move at only 7.25 lbs. Approx­i­mate cost:        $340 for the unit.  Stan­dard replace­ment fil­ters: $16  2” Fil­ter Frame to add addi­tion­al fil­ters:        $13



To down­load a print­able copy of the San­ta Let­ter,  click HERE


To down­load a print­able copy of the Wish List, click HERE



Con­grat­u­la­tions to Richard Houlden for sub­mit­ting our first Hum­ble Brag, along with pho­tos!

You may have noticed, I’ve added the word “SAVES” to our Epic Fail­ure and Hum­ble Brag title. I think we all find ways of “sav­ing” our carv­ings from becom­ing epic fail­ures.

If you have an Epic Fail­ure, a Hum­ble Save or Brag, that you’d like to share with oth­er wood­carvers, drop me an email at We’d love to hear your sto­ry!

Richard Houlden’s Hum­ble Save and Brag

Before I begin this tale you should know that my sto­ry could have been an epic fail­ure numer­ous times, but end­ed up as a hum­ble brag, thanks to friends and fam­i­ly.

Here in Vir­ginia, it is the Forestry Department’s 100th anniver­sary. The James Riv­er Wood­carvers Club received a request to carve orna­ments for the Governor’s Christ­mas tree. While not a mem­ber of the club, I am friends with a few mem­bers who sent the email along to me.

In my mind, where all my great carv­ings are stored, I decid­ed to carve an elf with his cap being a Christ­mas tree. That way, I would con­nect the forestry theme with the hol­i­day. Isn’t it fun­ny when we believe we have come up with a unique and inno­v­a­tive design and think, “Man, this will be cool! I bet no one has ever carved some­thing like this before.” Nine times out of ten, some­one already has – but so what? It doesn’t take any­thing away from the design we’ve cre­at­ed. To high­light the anniver­sary, I decid­ed to hang a carved sign below the orna­ment that read, “100th.”

Did I men­tion I am a stay-at-home dad with a wife and two boys? Even though that email invi­ta­tion arrived on Sep­tem­ber 12th, “life hap­pens” and I total­ly for­got about it

Fast for­ward to the sec­ond week in Novem­ber. As my wife, Heather, and I are final­iz­ing plans for the hol­i­days, I said, “Oh shoot. Wasn’t I sup­posed to do a carv­ing for that anniver­sary thing at the Governor’s man­sion?”

My first thought was to back out. Time was short. They need­ed to receive the orna­ment by Novem­ber 24th. But, my lov­ing and sup­port­ive wife asked, “If you took the next few days and focused a good amount of your time on the carv­ing, couldn’t you get it done in time to paint and ship off?”

She was right. And even if I didn’t fin­ish it in time, I could always put it in my Etsy shop. So, I go to the garage and spend that evening and the next day carv­ing the orna­ment, includ­ing hol­low­ing out the back por­tion. I hol­low out all my orna­ments because the weight of an orna­ment is an issue that needs to be addressed. After all, it will hang on the branch of a tree.

Oh shoot” again. I planned on hang­ing the “100th” sign from the bot­tom of the orna­ment. Since I hol­lowed it out, there is no “bot­tom” to hang the sign from. Do I have time to carve and paint and fin­ish anoth­er one? It’s already Novem­ber 17th!

Long sto­ry short (well not real­ly short) I am dis­cussing my dilem­ma via email with Susan and with­out bat­ting an eye, she writes, “If you want 100th on the orna­ment, con­sid­er paint­ing it (in gold?) on the third (widest) branch from the bot­tom. Paint­ing num­bers is a lot eas­i­er than carv­ing num­bers. You could burn it in, but the tree would have to be a lighter shade of green for the burn marks to show up.”

Short­ly there­after, my wife walked in the door. As we sat down to share the events of the day I told her Susan’s idea. Heather agreed, “That would work and save you a good amount of time in the long run.”

So that is exact­ly what I did.

Let me quote Dr. Seuss, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” I pulled the forestry department’s red and green logo off the inter­net which shows a stream flow­ing between two tree sil­hou­ettes.

Virginia Dept. of Forestry Logo

Vir­ginia Dept. of Forestry Logo

I matched the logo’s col­ors; their green for my tree and their red for the elf’s cap. On each side of the cap I paint­ed a tree sil­hou­ette, and in an effort to tie every­thing togeth­er, I added a blue line along the brim of the cap/Christmas tree to reflect the stream. I was very pleased with this and it arrived at the Forestry Depart­ment a day ahead of their dead­line.

I was so hap­py to receive a “thank you” email from the man in charge of gath­er­ing the orna­ments, John Camp­bell Direc­tor, Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion Divi­sion, Vir­ginia Depart­ment of Forestry. Here is an excerpt.

It will be a show­piece on the Governor’s tree this year and will adorn the VDOF tree next year and every year there­after. In addi­tion to the beau­ti­ful carv­ing, the per­son­al­iza­tion you added to help us cel­e­brate our 100th anniver­sary is such a spe­cial touch.”

As Dr. Seuss said, “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!”

Rich Houlden Elf Close Up Rich Houlden Elf Front View

Rich Houlden Elf Left Side Rich Houlden Elf Right Side



I received an email from a fel­low carv­er, Rich Neely. Here was Rich’s ques­tion:

I’ve been try­ing to find some tips on carv­ing a female face. There are some videos on You Tube, but noth­ing I’ve seen tells me how to make a face with dis­tin­guished female traits. Can you rec­om­mend a source such as YouTube videos, books, or chat room dis­cus­sions that will help me out?

Thanks in advance for your help, Rich

Hi Rich, I’ve checked through my carv­ing ref­er­ence library, and the only book I have (but, it is a good one) regard­ing female faces  is Carv­ing Clas­sic Female Faces in Wood – A How-to Ref­er­ence for Carvers and Sculp­tures writ­ten by Ian Nor­bury and pub­lished Fox Chapel Pub­lish­ing Co., Inc.

This is a shout-out to our read­ers. If you have addi­tion­al tips on carv­ing female faces that you’d like to share with Rich and the rest of us, drop me an email at: and I’ll pass it on in our next issue.


Until next time, gen­tle read­er, I wish you a Blessed Christ­mas. May your wood be plen­ti­ful and your tools stay sharp. Take care, carve lots, and always remem­ber to smile.




November/December 2014 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 18 Issue 6

2014 International Woodcarvers Congress. Award winning carvings.

2014 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress

The Pondby James Spencer, Hud­son, MI

First in Group G — Fish, Aquat­ic Crea­tures, Amphib­ians, Rep­tiles, and Dinosaurs; First in Class 702 — Real­is­tic Fish, Paint­ed

 Click image for a larg­er view

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

Wel­come to the final issue of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine for 2014.  

In Part 1 of this issue:

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #1

Lora S. Irish’s Moun­tain­man Cane Top­per

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: Mer­ry Christ­mas Snow­man

Pete LeClair: San­ta

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed

Notes From The Net 2.0

Last Call For Pho­tos — 2014 San­ta Gallery

In Part II

2014 San­ta Gallery

Susan Alexander’s Let’s Talk Carv­ing #2

And More!

As always, we wel­come your feed­back, ideas for arti­cles, etc.  Please use the con­tact form on the About page in the menu bar above.


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Edi­tor Matt Kel­ley


Matt Kel­ley


September/October 2014 WOM

Welcome to Woodcarver Online Magazine Volume 18 Issue 5

2014 International Woodcarvers Congress. Award winning carvings.

2014 Inter­na­tion­al Wood­carvers Con­gress

View of  Mem­o­riesby Ger­ald Lesch

First in Group T — Mina­tures; First in Class 1003 — Oth­er; Flex­cut Cre­ativ­i­ty Award 

 Click image for a larg­er view

Hel­lo, Friends in Carv­ing -

We are pleased to bring you anoth­er issue of Wood­carv­er Online Mag­a­zine.  Part 1 of this issue includes an impor­tant announce­ment about changes com­ing to WOM, changes that I am sure will be wel­comed by many of our read­ers.

In this issue:

Ol’ Don’s Draw­ing Table: The Whit­tler

Pete LeClair: The Sea Cap­tain

What’s  Com­ing to WOM

Call For Pho­tos - 2014 San­ta Gallery

Events, Hap­pen­ings and Goings-On Updat­ed — over a dozen events just added!

Notes From The Net 2.0

Let’s Talk Carv­ing, with Susan Alexan­der

Review — Carv­ing & Paint­ing Christ­mas Orna­ments, by Bet­ty Pad­den

And more!

As always, we wel­come your feed­back, ideas for arti­cles, etc.  Please use the con­tact form on the About page in the menu bar above.


WOM Editor Matt Kelley

WOM Edi­tor Matt Kel­ley


Matt Kel­ley